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‘I had a gift’

This employee turned his childhood interest in art into a painting hobby

George Collins sits with his hands draped over his knees in front of one of his paintings
George Collins, a Los Angeles general expeditor, sits near one of his paintings.

My name is George Collins and I’m a general expeditor at the Los Angeles Processing and Distribution Center.

Since elementary school, I have been interested in art. If I wasn’t playing sports, I would be sketching.

I could always draw, and when I was in school and did a painting, teachers would display it in my classroom or other classrooms. I had a gift.

My mom was a single mom. She told me, “Junior, your dad would go to the waterfront in Seattle and paint pictures. You got that talent from him.”

I didn’t go to school for it. I saw color and form in my head.

Before I began my career at the Postal Service, I served in the military. Before that, I painted.

I had two brothers who went to Vietnam, and they saw a lot of frightening stuff over there. Nobody comes back right after seeing and doing that stuff. I told them to come to the house and stay with me and my mom and my daughters.

I took care of them. We went back and forth to the Veterans Administration hospital a lot, so I wasn’t able to do my drawing and painting like I used to.

In the early 1980s I got sick with pneumococcal meningitis and then went into a coma for nine days. I don’t remember dates too well after that.

The P&DC recently displayed some paintings that I did 20 to 25 years ago. Until the paintings went on display, nobody knew about my artwork except for my family.

I got a heavy response from my co-workers, and I’m grateful for that.

“Off the Clock,” a column on Postal Service employees and their after-hours pursuits, appears regularly in Link.